I’ve never been someone’s affair partner. I would never do, what several women have done to me. But I don’t totally put the blame on these women, as they were duped and lied to, just like I was. On the other hand, we all know dating someone who is still legally married, no matter how many days or years he’s been separated, no matter what lies come out of his mouth, is wrong. Period! No excuse. Once you know he’s married… everything should be over.
While I was married, while he was “dating” these women, I was on the back burner… not them. The back burner is where you get tossed aside and not the priority in someone’s life… you’re the back burner person. A wife can feel very unimportant when someone else is invited to the marriage.
Back burner: a condition of low priority or temporary deferment or put aside for the time being, as a subject that is not of immediate concern but that may be activated later; postponed (Dictionary.com)
There were many times I felt like I was “postponed,” of low priority, and put aside for a time. I was basically kept around in case things didn’t work out with the current mistress and for when he decided he wanted his “family” back – to look good to someone. He wasn’t completely committed to me or the mistress, yet we both allowed ourselves to be used in his manipulative and deceptive game of adultery. That is such a low place to be.
A constant state of limbo.
I hear from ladies all the time who tell me they’re “living in limbo.” Their husband has left, sometimes has a mistress (sometimes not or she believes his lies), yet he tells her that he might be coming home. He often states he “still loves her” and the kids, “and always will.”
These are the same lines I was fed. And because I refused to see the truth through the lies, I was put on the back burner, again and again, and again. My worth was so wrapped up in being a “wife” that I didn’t matter to me. It was all about saving the marriage… to save “the family.”
We believe the empty promises because we so want them to be true. But when it comes to actually, do what he says he’ll do, he doesn’t and he won’t. We’ll continue to be his back burner person because it was all just words to keep you there. To keep you hoping and guessing.
Narcissists love to keep their love interests – their supply – guessing. They ride the fence on most everything so that they can’t be blamed for whatever they’re doing. Their “image” is so protected that they’d never allow anyone or anything to ruin the fictitious character they’ve created.
Character is the most important.
A person’s character is who they are when no one is watching. The true character of a person tells you how kind they are, how honest they are, and their level of self-control – the fruits of the Spirit. We need to look for fruits in someone, over time, to see what their true character is. Narcissists often try to keep this part of themselves hidden at all times – that’s why they need to protect their image – so they tell you what their character looks like.
The most important thing I had to learn is… a husband’s character (even the hidden parts of him) does NOT define the character of the wife. I didn’t need to keep protecting him to protect my own character or to protect the marriage… which was based on lies. My job was and is to keep having the fruits of the Spirit, trust God, and allow others to see the truth about any given situation.
Even with our children, their character and choices in life do not define me as a person or a parent. I know I did the best I could do, at that given time, so their life and their path… is totally up to them.
You’ll be treated how you believe you deserve to be treated.
I wasn’t treated well growing up. As I’ve stated many times before, I learned to believe that I didn’t deserve to be treated with loving-kindness or respect because that’s what I was used to. So this translated into how I allowed others to treat me long into adulthood. I was always someone’s option, and never a priority… even after marriage.
After my divorce, during therapy, I learned that I was unconsciously trying to fix my childhood wound while dating and marrying someone who could never love or respect me. My empathetic and carrying heart wanted to care for someone who “needed” my love. But the fact was, I didn’t allow myself to see that I would never be put in that same priority position.
Learning to see myself through God’s eyes, as loved and cherished, has taught me that I deserve to be treated with loving-kindness and respect from every person in my life. I treat others how I want to be treated and I deserve to be treated the same in return, not as a back burner person. When someone doesn’t see the value I bring to the table, I remove myself from the kitchen. Just not worth my peace to try to keep that person in my life.
Once you brush disrespect, care and concern for yourself under the rug, like it didn’t happen, you give others permission to keep treating you in that very same manner. You don’t deserve to be a back burner person, any more than I do. Let’s never be a back burner person again! Are you with me?
[You May Also Enjoy: How Loving a Narcissist Hurts You]
[socialrocket-tweet quote=”Go where you’re appreciated, not used for when you’re just needed. Never be a back burner person again!” tweet=”Go where you’re appreciated, not used for when you’re just needed. Never be a back burner person again!”]
Have you learned that you deserve to be treated better than being placed on the back burner?
God bless your healing journey,
Lana D. says
Oh my goodness Jen, you have hit the nail on the head! This scenario is exactly what I lived my entire 40 year marriage to my High School
Sweetheart. It has taken me years to accept how many times he was
Unfaithful, how many friendships knowingly hid his behavior, and now
Having to accept my adult children’s acceptance of his marriage to the
Woman who participated in destroying our marriage as well as her own.
We are grandparents whose grandkids are cheated from having an intact
family. I have set down boundaries where my time with my kids and their children will not be shared for the sake of pretending we are a super happy family. We are broken. I choose to move forward enjoying what time,
events, and memories each remaining family member decides they want to participate in with me. My daily prayers reflect my praise that I was blessed with Children and Grandchildren because two young kids fell in love. I thank God for all the people he has placed in my life who support me in prayer and the reinventing of my life……
Jen Grice says
So glad to hear someone else can relate. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, it takes a long time for some of us to learn this, but when we do we never want to go back to being treated so poorly. I was just telling a family member the other day, that I spent WAY too much time living in a fake world with a fake smile, pretending to be happy when I was not. Now, I’m happy but I won’t live on that house of cards ever again. I want to be authentic, accepted as being authentic, and around similar authentic people.
Good job for having *loving* boundaries with the people in your life. They may not understand your reasoning, but I have to believe they will someday. And in the meantime, you are keeping with Romans 12:18, to “live in peace with everyone.”
Wow..well said….thank you Jen for sharing your heart and life lessons. So often growing up I was disrespected either in word or deed and I learned the way to emotionally survive was to push these things under the rug. Unfortunately, I brought that wrong belief system into my adult life and marriage. After 29 years of marriage I am only now realizing that I deserve better. Thankyou for the reminder that we indeed are treated how we expect to be treated. Until we erect loving boundaries there isn’t much hope for change in any of our relationships. If it means “removing yourself from the kitchen” to get off that back burner then so be it.
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome, SS. It’s hard but with God, we can do anything. 🙂
you are right sis
Jen Grice says
Thank you, Ronke.
Cathy R. says
During the entire relationship, I was on the back burner to his career. Maybe that’s why it took so long for me to realize he was having an affair – being on the back burner was nothing new. Unfortunately the children were there with me. From the beginning, he didn’t interrupt his schedule for prenatal checkups or when babies arrived in an untimely manner. We were all a hinderance to his career. Thanks for helping me see this most difficult relationship in a new way.
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome, Cathy. Yes, I think you’re right. In some marriages, including my own, the wife was always on the back burner to everything and everyone else. She was there when he needed her but she wasn’t of major importance to him. That’s why it’s hard to see times when someone else steps into the picture.
Thank you Jen for sharing the blessings. Your words are a great source of encouragement for living in freedom… The way God intended
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure. 🙂